A sixth candidate has entered the hotly-contested race for Seneca Nation president.
Shaun Humphrey, 41, of Irving, said Monday that, if he is elected, he will put an end to the Seneca tradition of vote-buying. He also said he wants to force all independently-owned smokeshops to close down.
“I would like to close all the smokeshops and combine all the operations in one smokeshop business owned by the nation, to benefit all the Seneca people instead of just a few,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey said he is a businessman, carpenter and bricklayer who formerly worked as a bodyguard for wealthy Seneca business people. He is running as an independent, and said he realizes he is very much an underdog.
According to the tribal government, he entered the race on Oct. 22 and is competing against Tribal Council Chairman Richard E. Nephew, businessman Aaron Pierce, former Erie County Sheriff’s investigator Cochise RedEye, and two former presidents, Barry E. Snyder Sr. and Cyrus Schindler.
The election is Tuesday.
Vote-buying is technically prohibited by Seneca Nation election rules, but Humphrey and other candidates say the tradition has been carried out for decades. No Seneca president has ever enforced the rules against vote-buying, and no candidate has ever pushed strongly for an end to the practice.
“If vote-buying happens again this year, I’m going to ask our nation to enforce its own rules against it. I’d like to see if the nation will uphold its own laws,” said Humphrey.